Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Purposeful Professional Communication by Teacher Educators: Helping Candidates Get Jobs

Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Purposeful Professional Communication by Teacher Educators: Helping Candidates Get Jobs

Article excerpt

The job market for teachers continues to change, and new graduates can no longer expect to get a position in the district in which they completed student teaching or by attending a single campus job fair. "Teaching is not the safe career bet that it once was" (Jacobson, 2011, p. 16), but there are teaching positions available every year. When newlycertificated teachers do not find jobs within a year, they may become discouraged and leave the profession permanently. As newly certified teachers leave the pool of potential new hires, the problem of teacher supply and demand may become what Ingersoll and Smith (2003) have cahedpouring water into a bucket with holes in it. Teacher educators have many responsibilities in their roles of preparing tomorrows teachers, but chief among these is purposeful communication about getting a job to help candidates secure employment upon graduation.

In this article, I explore the possible roles of teacher educators with regard to preparing candidates for finding jobs. I discuss where to fit job searching into an already lull curriculum and how to teach all aspects of the search process. Strategies for teaching students to communicate purposefully through resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and interviews are included.

Job Searching as a Part of the Curriculum

Introduction to Education classes. The first place for job searching in the teacherpreparation curriculum may be in the introduction to education class. An easy assignment is to have students find an online employment Web site, such as teachers-teachers.com or schoolspring.com, to see what jobs are listed nationally. Then, students should locate their states teacher-employment Web site and read openings. To find the states Web site, candidates can use a search engine such as Google and type in teaching jobs and the name of the state, or go to the link on http://www.edinformatics.com/education/employment, htm. With this assignment, students learn about the hiring trends in their state and region.

Every year the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) publishes its Job Search Handbook for Educators and includes a summary of its annual survey on educator supply and demand. For example, a quick look at the current data reveals continued shortages of teachers in the areas of remedial and special education, the sciences, mathematics, some foreign languages, English as a second language (ESL), and bilingual education (American Association for Employment in Education, 2013). Additionally, the survey currently shows a surplus of elementary teachers, especially in the early grades, in many areas of the country. For some students who are beginning their teacher-education programs intent on becoming kindergarten or first-grade teachers at this time, seeing this data may not influence their choice of teaching area. However, other students may see the research and learn that adding an endorsement or extra coursework in ESL, reading, or special education may increase their chances of obtaining a position in early-elementary grades.

Because the teacher job market varies widely and preparation is time-consuming, communication about where the jobs are should start early. It may not be the job of the Education 101 instructor to force a change in major upon teacher-education candidates, but it is certainly important that students know this information when entering the program. Although candidates should not be scared into changing their majors based on anecdotal stories, clear communication from professors and other teachers who work with education majors can help students to better understand the possible job market outlook,

One-to-two years before job entry. Where else can job-search preparation be shared with candidates? Clements (2013) research on getting a teachingjob indicated that it takes a year to find a position. Accordingly, basic information about how to start job searching should be shared in a curriculum or methods class during the spring of junior year for traditional undergraduates and a year before MAT or postbaccalaureate candidates are scheduled to complete their certification programs. …

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